Record five female drivers head for Jordan Rally

2004 Jordan International Rally
FIA Middle East Rally Championship, round 4 of 8

For immediate release
Thursday, May 13th, 2004


Record number of female entries for Jordan Rally; Nada Zaidan to compete outside Qatar

AMMAN (Jordan): Five female drivers are among the 50 teams who will take part in the Marlboro-supported Jordan International Rally, which starts with a timed 'super special' stage in Amman on Thursday, May 20th.

They will be led away by Abir Batikhi and her co-driver Nisreen Pharoan at the wheel of a two-wheel drive Opel Corsa, entered in the A6 class. Jordanian Abir has been a regular competitor in recent Jordan rallies, but she faces the strongest female line-up ever to enter a round of the FIA Middle East Rally Championship.

Fellow Jordanian Nancy Majali has tackled several rounds of the regional series in recent years in her trusty Ford Escort RS Cosworth. She and co-driver Nadia Shnoudeh have become familiar faces in the region and enjoy competing at the highest level against their male counterparts.

~I always enjoy the Jordan Rally,~ said Majali. ~It becomes more popular each year and this time is no exception. It is fantastic news that the organisers have attracted such a big entry and I'm looking forward to competing against the other girls.~

Syria's Abir Fudail is the third female entrant looking forward to the challenge of two days of special stage action in the Jordan deserts. She wheels out the trusty Group N Renault Clio Williams which she steered to 10th overall in February's Qatar International Rally.

Three female drivers took part in February's Qatar Rally, which ran as a successful candidate event for the 2005 Middle East series. Doha-based Germans Heiderose Mossen and Marisa Kollenberg finished eighth overall in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and have since gone on to tackle national rallies in Qatar.

Fudail was 10th, but Nada Zaidan grabbed newspaper headlines by becoming the first Qatari lady to take part in an international event. She finished in ninth position with Jordanian co-driver Nadia Shnoudeh, although Nadia returns to her regular seat alongside Majali in Jordan. ~Hopefully I have shown the lead for other Muslim women who want to take part in motorsport in the Middle East,~ said a delighted Zaidan at the rally finish in Doha.

Now Zaidan will tackle the second event of her career and her first outside Doha, when she wheels out a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution 3 in Amman. The female entry is completed by Jordan's Tala Shawwa in a second Ford Escort RS Cosworth.

~With the increase in the popularity of the sport in the region, more and more lady drivers are becoming interested in rallying,~ said Ziad Louza, Clerk of the Course of the Jordan Rally. ~Maybe one day a lady driver will be challenging for the overall Middle East Championship title!~

For further information about the 2004 Jordan International Rally and entry details contact Ziad Louza at the Royal Automobile Club of Jordan (RACJ), Tel: + 9626 5850626, Fax: + 9626 5818131, E-mail: racj@go.com.jo


For further media information:
Neil Perkins, 2004 Jordan International Rally Press Officer, NDP Publicity Services,
Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: NDPPublicity@compuserve.com, www.ndp-publicity.com/press

Date issued: 13/05/2004

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